Directed by: #LindsayBennettThompson
Written by: #LindsayBennettThompson
In a near future reliant on technology, Jenny lives an idyllic life with her spiritualistic partner, Maggie, but there are unseen horrors lurking in the shadows that could tear the couple apart.
File Not Found (2022) is a British sci-fi/horror short which explores an intriguing blend of technology culture and traditional horror, with talented director and writer Lindsay Bennett-Thompson taking inspiration from Black Mirror (2011-2019) and The Babadook (2014). The film is currently showing in Film Festivals.
The setting is very creative and striking, both in narrative and visual execution, with an unsettling tone immediately established through the title credits and the recognisable sound of electronic glitches, foreshadowing the danger to come. There is a distinct lack of musical score following the title, increasing the disturbing atmosphere as we are introduced to Jenny (Browne) waking up next to her sleeping partner, Maggie (Bennett-Thompson). Their home appears unnatural, with a sleek white interior that suits the apparent utopian setting of 2035.
Direction is impeccable, with Lindsay projecting a clear creative vision through stand out shots such as when the camera travels into a door as Jenny leaves for work, creating a seamless transition to hours later when she arrives back home. There is an overall eerie tone throughout the sixteen minutes and wonderful world building through the sci-fi aspect, with Jenny offered a therapeutic device called Sophie to help her cope with her wife’s apparent suicide, which uses an augmented reality of the memory of Maggie.
This story beat about using technology to help humans deal with bereavement is fascinating and leads to many emotional moments, with Lucie Browne as Jenny giving a heartfelt, authentic performance as she struggles to cope with the loss and becomes dangerously reliant on the AI.
The horror aspect of the short soon comes into full force with a heart-pounding score kicking in as Jenny discovers something sinister upstairs in the darkness. The escalating tension reaches its peak as she is cornered by a tall creature with a slender silhouette, Lindsay cleverly choosing to keep the entity in the dark to heighten the terror. Much of the narrative is open to the interpretation of the viewer, with an impressive set up and some information given about the technological utopian future and the inclusion of the monster can raise many questions about what this may represent for the film’s thematic messages.
Overall, File Not Found presents a splendid combination of thought provoking science fiction and effectively disturbing traditional horror to great effect. Direction and performances are all on point and the captivating narrative featuring a chilling ending will certainly leave a strong impression on viewers.
File Not Found (2022) trailer: